A one-day conference was organized by the Punjab Research Group at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, on 27 October 2018. The conference provided a platform to academics, young researchers, journalists, artists, and activists for an inter-disciplinary discussion focusing on the theme of ‘Punjab: Past, Present and Future’.
Mr. R.S Mann (Raj) Convenor of the conference welcomed all the guests. In the inaugural address, Prof Iftikhar H Malik (Bath Spa University) informed the speakers and audience that the Punjab Research Group has been hosting conferences at least twice a year since 1984 and was established as an inclusive and all- embracing forum for discussion and debate on issues pertaining to the East and West Punjab as well as the Punjabi diaspora. During the past 34 years, the PRG has provided space for academics to interact with each other regardless of territorial or disciplinary boundaries.
Speakers from the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan presented their papers. The speakers included Kanika Singh (Ashoka University), Kiranpreet Kaur (University of Birmingham), Saadia Sumbal (Forman Christian College University Lahore), Mazhar Abbas (Shanghai University and Government College University, Faisalabad), Anupama Uppal (Punjabi University Patiala), Raphaela Kormoll (Durham University), Harminder Kaur Bhogal (Community Education Academy of Leadership, England), Prof. Eleanor Nesbitt (University of Warwick), Samia Khalid (Islamia University of Bahawalpur) and Simple Kochar (Guru Nanak Dev University). In different sessions chaired by Jaskiran Bhogal (London School of Economics), Prof. Pritam Singh (University of Oxford), Dr. Pippa Virdee (De Montfort University, Leicester) and Prof. Iftikhar H Malik (Bath Spa University). Speakers presented their work on Punjab related issued pertaining to gender studies, religion studies, land reforms, rural economy, politics, governance, history and poetry.
Simple Kochar (Guru Nanak Dev University) was awarded the Best Doctorate Student Presentation prize for her paper ‘Heer Waris Shah: A Meme of Punjabiyat’ and Kiranpreet Kaur (University of Birmingham) was awarded Special Commendation award for her paper. Prof Pritam Singh, from the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies and the Director of the conference, in his concluding remarks congratulated the speakers and complimented the convenor of the conference Mr R S Mann (Raj) for organizing such a successful conference, and also acknowleded the financial and logisitical support provided by CSASP/Oxford School of Global and Area Studies, Asian Studies Centre and St. Antony’s College.